Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose mother, Ruth, was one of 10 people killed in the Buffalo, N.Y., massacre last month, conveyed the sadness and anger of his family and others who lost loved ones. Whitfield called on the committee to take action to battle white supremacy, which authorities believe motivated the attack, or step down to let others do something about it.
GARNELL WHITFIELD, JR.: For her to be murdered, taken away from us by someone so full of hate is impossible to understand and even harder to live with. But we're more than hurt. We're angry. We're mad as hell, because this should have never happened.
We're good citizens, good people. We believe in God. We trust in God. But this wasn't an act of God. This was an act of a person. And he did not act alone.
He was radicalized by white supremacists. His anger and hatred were metastasized like a cancer by people with big microphones in high places screaming that Black people were going to take away their jobs and opportunities. Every enforcement agency charged with protecting the homeland has conducted risk and threat analysis and determined that white supremacy is the number one threat to the homeland, and yet nothing's been done to mitigate or eradicate it.
We're people of decency. We're taught to love even our enemies. But our enemies don't love us. So what are we supposed to do with all our anger and all of our pain? Do you expect us to continue to just forgive and forget over and over again?
And what are you doing? You were elected to protect us, to protect our way of life. I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine and ask yourself, is there nothing that we can do? Is there nothing that you personally are willing to stop the cancer of white supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?
Because if there is nothing, then, respectfully, senators, you should yield your positions of authority and influence to others that are willing to lead on this issue. The urgency of the moment demands no less. My mother's life mattered. My mother's life mattered, and your actions here today will tell us how much it matters to you. Thank you.